Self Starter Magazine November 2018

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November 2018 Issue 11 Volume 01

Think Tell Teach

The best gift you have ever been given is "right now"

No Matter What Stands In Your Way, You CAN Do It! Debbie Millington

"Just Be Yourself", But, How Do You Know What That Is?

Irish Female Fashion Taking The World By Storm

Turn The Setbacks Into Amazing Comebacks

Meet The Team EST. 2018 EMAIL INSTAGRAM @selfstartermagazine FACEBOOK SelfStarterMagazine TWITTER @MagSelfStarter

Wendy Merrigan

Lynsey Hanratty

Sharon Thompson

Claire Gallagher

Éadaoin Curtin

Siobhan Fitzpatrick

Publisher & Editor-In-Chief Kajsa Kinsella Arklow County Wicklow Ireland

Marie Shields

Paul Dunphy

Special Guests

Aisling Griffin

Philipa Jane Farley

Debbie Millington

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Ann Marie McDonagh

Steph Grey

Think Tell Teach

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EDITOR`S WELCOME Hi Everyone & All. BRRRRR-it has gotten a lot colder in the last couple of days. The woolly socks are coming out of the drawers, and the hats are taking their proud place on top of our heads-I love it!! As you can see, we have had a little bit of a makeover at Self Starter Magazine; a facelift so to speak and we really hope that you will like it! We offer the same true-to-life content and ready-to-apply-information in a more contemporary and airy style. As of this issue, we have changed our magazine motto to THINK TELL TEACH, as these three words represent what we stand for and reflects our passion, and what we wish you will adopt in your approach towards running a business of your own too. Helping each other out is THE most important key to success and us women must lead by example. This month, yet again, we have incredible content for you written by Irish female entrepreneurs. Read the fascinating life stories of Irish designers Debbie Millington and Ann Marie McDonagh, celebrating the beauty of women across the globe. Their inspiring ethos and honest approach to fashion is truly inspiring. Bringing a business idea to life takes time, effort and hard, hard work and these two have certainly used all their intuition and instincts to create businesses which make a difference for both the customer and the environment And last but not least, make sure to submit your entry in our exciting new competitions on our website-Discover Irish businesses and learn from Irish female entrepreneurs. We have SO many exciting prizes for you to win. Enjoy!/Kajsa Kinsella Founder & Editor-In-Chief

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For You This Month









Debbie Millington

Aisling Griffin

Éadaoin Curtin

DIY Cough Drops!

The Cream Of The Crop

Claire Gallagher

November 2018 Issue 11 Volume 01

Ann Marie McDonagh

Marie Shields

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Always Keep Your Face

Towards The Sun

And The Shadows

Will Fall Behind You

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Stylish, Sensual & Sustainable PÂ 07


The strength to do anything lies within. Well used to depend on herself, overcome whatever may unsettle her and pave her own path, Dublin designer Debbie Millington is a pure joy to speak to. Her energy and love for life are truly apparent and seldom have I come across a person that possesses such a natural sense of leadership as Debbie does. Her love for creativity and productivity is so strong, that even a collapsed lung wouldn`t deter her from pursuing a dream of becoming an independent designer.

"I take inspiration from my travels, places, people and things that have made an impact on my life" Smiling at the summer sun, a young Debbie Millington with a degree in fashion design and textiles in her hand was immediately after her graduation hired as a stylist by the renowned Irish emporium, "Brown Thomas" in Grafton Street. This was an exciting development and a job which taught her so very much about the world of fashion, the ins and outs of retail and invaluable experience of working under tight deadlines, thinking on your feet and problem solving, which all would prove themselves to become the stepping stones for her future career.

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Having set her mark in the world of fashion by creating a collection for "Airwave", Debbie took a leap across the pond and worked for the totally fearless company "The New Renaissance", where she, equipped with a glue gun, rather than sewing needles, as she was used to, developed outlandish costumes and creations for film, TV, music videos and events with her team. It was a time of incredible creativity, she recollects.

Due to the arrival of her beloved daughter Thea a few years ago and the fact that she experienced some quite complicated medical procedures due to a collapsed lung, Debbie simply had to take some time out to nurture both herself and her little new companion. Approximately two years ago, after having recovered well enough, she rediscovered all her photographs of wondrous places she had visited. She taught herself how to master Photoshop and decided to go on yet another adventure; to have her designs printed on the very best of silk in a sustainable and honest fashion. Her UK producers print digitally, a process which uses a lot less water and energy than regular types of printing. She also uses only non-toxic ink and all her packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable plus, the ink used is made from plant extract. The decision to go the route of creating a more "safer" fashion, came easy to Debbie, as she through her worldwide traveling witnessed first hand the impact that pollution and global recklessness has on our environment.

After a few years, the forever curious Debbie moved on and set her sails for the shores of Australia. In the impressive Sydney Opera House, she found employment in the costume department of various shows and through this, came in contact with a man who so just happened to be working on a new filmproject, called Moulin Rouge and it was a match made in heaven! The joy of working with stunning costumes and film sets, creating beauty has excited and captivated Debbie for the last 17 years and working on making magic in film, theater and TV, is something she still enjoys. And, to add to her list of accomplishments, she toured with Riverdance in Asia, worked on the Start Wars movies, The annual St Patrick`s Parade in Dublin and even the Carnival in Rio De Janeiro!

Although it`s sometimes tough to be a one-man-band, this girl is not one for sitting down and complain. If she wants to get something done, she simply gets it done and that`s that. I can`t wait to see what the future holds for Debbie Millington./Kajsa

Find Debbie on P 09

Business Coaching

Working in your business after a setback By Lynsey Hanratty

What to do when things don`t go as they should... You might think you can tackle all the ups and downs that entrepreneurship has to offer, but there will be times that something personal will impact your business; a family emergency, a bereavement, an illness or suffering a setback from an opportunity that you’d hoped would take your business to the next level. It can be hard to keep motivated in your professional life when your personal life takes a hit and a situation brings you back to earth with a bang when all had been going so well up to that point. As an entrepreneur, you have an internal drive, a can-do attitude, and are most likely a self-starter who gets things done in your business every day. You’ll have a great support group around you and will be working towards that business goal with great gusto until….. P 10

When this happens, it can feel like every day’s just about getting by, just about putting one foot in front of the other. You feel like a failure, that you’ve done something wrong, or that you expected it to all go wrong. They say ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ but it’s those ‘rock bottom’ moments when all the hard work feels like it was for nothing, when something life-changing happens for the worst, when you lose a loved one or a dear friend - these are the times that show you what you want to make important in your life, that help you reassess and recalibrate and help build you back up again. Rock bottom moments are those where things can only get better, but you’ll obviously need some time to heal and restructure your plans going forward. Having an overall plan and strategy is what will help you get back on track from a setback in your business.

Business Coaching

“Keep Listening, Keep Learning, Keep Developing” Remember, that feeling won’t last forever, you need to learn from the experience of a setback or loss. When you lose something or someone, there’s always a lesson learned. These experiences are necessary in business and in life because if you don't experience a situation that brings you to your lowest point, then you’ll never take the chances needed to create the life you want because you’ll always play it safe. You’ll never take the risks that will bring you to where you should be, and to push for what you really want. Going through the motions is a waste of energy and of the opportunities and chances that you can create every brand-new day. There is no such thing as failure, just learning from mistakes and setbacks. Everything happens for a reason, embrace it and take stock in it – it may not become clear any time soon, but it will as time goes by. Sometimes the No’s you get in business or in life will bring you to the Yes that builds your business and life for the better. Once you announce your plans to the universe to make changes in your life, it will test and challenge you one way or another, and they can be big tests and challenges, but you will be stronger because of it. This is because you’ll make stronger connections, have a stronger business, and have stronger relationships – because you’ll learn from those low points. Look at the person you have become, keep learning and make your needs and wants a priority – stick to your plan. Take time out to learn from the experiences, to grieve, to take stock. The setbacks will take their toll at the time, but in time, they will help you reassess what’s important in your life and teach you how to be stronger and more resilient.

Lynsey Hanratty worked in the wellness arena as a neuromuscular and physical therapist for over 4 years before moving into coaching to fulfill her ambition of helping wellness practitioners realize their potential, create more profit, and have the business and life that they want. She does this by way of one to one business coaching as well as speaking at various events. If you would like to avail of Lynsey’s 30 minute complimentary Profit Road Map Session to explore what you want to achieve and create in your wellness business, you can contact her at or call her on 086 3569689.

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The Best Way To Gain Happiness Is To Give It To Others! There is no better medicine on a "low" day than to bring a smile to someone else`s face. By Kajsa Kinsella

I hear you sister, it`s not easy to cheer up when everything around you and often within you, seems to take almost pleasure in putting sticks in your way, and trip you up at every opportunity. But fret not, for there is help coming your way! One thing we often forget is that our own insecurity and unhappiness most certainly bring misery upon us, and if only we shifted that despair a little to the side, we`d see the sunrise, waiting juuuuust behind it. Have you noticed, the ripple effects of making someone smile are incredible. Smiling is contagious, it`s a proven fact and let me tell you, however sullen you are, when someone approaches you with an ear-toear smile, staying sour ain`t easy! Not only do you smile, but your body responds in the most amazing way to it. Did you know that someone smiling triggers an unconscious automatic response in us all and apparently, if you look at an image or person who is smiling, you are near enough unable to create an unhappy expression? Isn`t that amazing! When making someone happy, you tighten the connection between the two of you; the bond in which trust and confidence grow. Sharing or showing a genuine emotion of joy is the very best way to create a business relationship which will stand the test of time. And a smile is the shortest way to sealing the deal. Within this emotion, people feel seen, they feel listened to and they feel safe and that is what we as entrepreneurs wish for all our customers, partners, distributors and colleagues to feel. And, I promise you, the smiles you are bringing to other people`s faces, are certainly warming up your thoughts about yourself too. PP 1122


"Making someone happy changes both their world and yours" *Give someone a call* In this day and age, we have loads of social media friends, but most of us have never actually spoken in person. Give someone you admire a quick call to tell them that. Who knows what will come out of it! *Express your gratitude* In every business, there are people who have helped you, taught you important lessons, guided you through uncertain times. Send them all a short message to say thanks and to put a smile on their faces. I promise you, you will receive the same positive energy right back and your day is off to a splendid start! *Make A Happy Music List * Write down or make a playable list of the music that invigorates you and makes you happy. Share it on social media, and before long, your friends will add their favourites and you will all have plenty of great music to work to. *Plan A Networking Event!* Get some girls together for a small networking event. It doesn`t have to be super regulated and organized, but, suggest a cuppa and a natter in a local cafe, to get to know each other and to pick each other`s brains. I promise you, this will make you smile before, during and after the event.

"Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour over others without spilling a few drops on to yourself."

When things are tough, remind yourself of this: You are doing your very best. You are tenacious and you are a strong, fierce lady who is on a mission. A mission to live a life that you are happy to be in, one that you are proud of. One that allows you to breathe easy and sleep well at night. You are on your way. You are traveling the journey you chose to take and you should promise yourself to look after yourself as well as you tend to your friends. SMILE at yourself in the mirror. Even a fake smile will send positive signals to your brain, and who knows, before long you just might be able to produce a real one too! P 13


Giving Everything You've Got By Éadaoin Curtin

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STARTING SMALL For many of us entrepreneurs, our business starts as a passion. With only a few exceptions, we start small; making our products as gifts, solving a problem, offering our time free of charge. We give our time, we give our energy - hoping in return, for affirmation, acknowledgement, learning, positive feedback. And then, that passion becomes a business and it becomes time to stop playing small. If what you’re doing is to be more than a hobby, if it really is to become a genuinely sustainable business, you need clients to buy from you or hire you and you need to charge what your service or product is worth. They say givers gain, but when we get stuck in that mode of giving, we can make it hard for ourselves to receive. Because if we’re totally honest, it’s not giving wholeheartedly. What I mean by that is that if we’re giving (even if it’s free of charge) on the condition that we get something back - in the form of kudos, affirmation etc, then we’re not genuinely giving. What I’m talking about is a different kind of giving - presenting yourself as whom you are and holding none of yourself back. Giving everything you’ve got. This is a way of thinking about yourself and your work. Often, the entrepreneurs I work with are in a process of raising awareness of their value (presenting themselves fully, no holds barred) and, as a byproduct of that, learning how to receive more. Their photographs are just one tangible aspect of a much bigger piece of growth. And their photographs are not only meaningful to them, they’re also tangible to their clients and prospective clients.

PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING This brings us to the idea of perceived value - the value you see yourself as having and the value your clients and potential clients see you as having. It’s a chronic issue among creative and service-based entrepreneurs because we struggle to value our work ourselves, so we teach people how to treat us. This is where personal branding comes in, it’s a conscious act of presenting yourself and so raising your perceived value. When you acknowledge that you and your service or product are worth investing in, you make it easier for your potential clients to make the decision to invest in you. But this is not an easy leap for many of us to make, it’s about as vulnerable as it gets. Our own perceived lack of value (usually voiced by our inner critic) most often lies in imposter syndrome or a fear of success. Here are three ways to help you raise your perceived value and receive more: 1. Do the work - keep working, keep showing up, keep talking about or showing the work. As you grow or deepen your work, you begin to realize its value, and yours. 2. Question your inner critic - why is it telling you these things? Your inner critic at work can mean you’re about to do or are doing something brave or important to you. 3. Focus on your client - make it about them. Your client doesn’t just need any [insert your work here] they’re looking for someone who speaks to them, who thinks the way they do, who feels the same as they do. They need to know WHO you are and WHY you are so that they can buy WHAT you do. The more you give yourself to them, the more you will receive.

Contact Eadaoin to bring out the best in you! P 15

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Email for rates

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By Philipa Jane Farley of ProPrivacy Consulting Ltd. 1. The Data Protection Officer and Supporting Structure

Do you know if you need to appoint a DPO? If you feel you are not required to appoint a DPO in an official capacity, you should at the very least have appointed somebody in your business to be the data protection lead. Further to this, you should have established a data protection committee (size dependent on your organizational structure) to support the DPO or lead in their role and ensure the data protection policies in your business are being heard, understood and adhered to.

2. Awareness and Training

Make sure that every person in your business has at the very least experienced a GDPR awareness training programme. Further to this, you should have at this stage conducted an assessment on your business to determine who needs specialized and specific data protection training relevant to their position in the business. Everybody in the business should know what the procedure is for subject access requests (where data subjects exercise their rights) and incident management.

3. Data Subject Rights

There is no exemption in this. You will have to deal with data subject rights whether you want to or not. Data subject rights are intricately tied up with your Article 30 records of processing, the legal basis you process on and the policies and notices you have drawn up and issued. Be aware, especially when identifying the basis for processing, always of the rights your data subjects enjoy and ensure there is a sanctioned procedure for dealing with these rights within the required time frames.

4. Incident Management and Data Breaches

Your incident management procedure should be so tight right now that if Harry Houdini was inside the flow, he would not find a way out. Do you know what constitutes a data breach and a reportable data breach? And by reportable, I mean reportable to the Data Protection Commission and reportable to the data subject? Do you know what measures you can take to protect data should it be involved in an incident or breach? How long would it take you to find out about a data breach in your business? Knowing where all your data is, who manages your data stores and the security measures attached to each data asset will go a long way to helping you.

5. Article 30 Records of Processing You will most likely be required to keep article 30 records of processing no matter the size of your business. If you engage in processing that is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, processing that is not occasional OR processing that includes special categories of data or personal data relating to criminal convictions and offenses you are required to keep these records. Note especially the second point: processing that is not occasional. This means any regular data processing activity occurring in your business.

6. Policies and Notices

Do you have an up-to-date and adequate data protection policy for your business? Have you aligned your privacy notices to this data protection policy? If your data subjects include children, write the notices in such a way that they will understand them. Are you serving your notices correctly to your data subjects and making every effort to sign-post to them at data collection points? If they are long and unwieldy, try layering the notices. Again, there is no set format or template for these documents, however, there are essential elements that must be included, and you should be writing them in clear and plain language.

7. International Transfers of Personal Data

We will assume that you have a fair idea of the data flow within your business as well as the data flow in and out of your business. If any data flows involve the international transfers of personal data, are you certain of the mechanism under which you are transferring the data? Are you relying on an adequacy decision? Are you relying on one of the other nine measures available? And, have you documented all the above?

8. Data Processing Agreements

Data flows will reveal to you whether you are the data controller, joint controller, data processor or third party. Every link in this chain should be covered by a written agreement that is compliant with the current law and that is kept up to date. Every one of these written agreements should contain appropriate security and other data protection safeguards. Further, these agreements need to clearly outline where responsibilities and liability lie. I quote the Data Protection Commission that says that informal and ad-hoc arrangements will not be acceptable, where personal data is involved.

9. Data Protection and Privacy Program All the above contribute to a formal privacy program within the business. The GDPR is here to stay, should be discussed at your meetings and should be considered when entering new relationships in business. It must be considered at the beginning of all your projects and all current projects need to be examined through the lens of the GDPR and needs to be infused into business as usual. The GDPR is your new way of life. Make friends with it and be surprised at the positive effects. Deals happen easier when you can prove your compliance, your business has had a lovely spring clean!

10. Audit Readiness Which brings us to the last point, being ready for a data protection audit. You can call for an independent audit on your business. You might be required to undergo an audit prior to a business deal being approved. If you are a data processor, more than likely you must agree to regular or periodic audits on your business by data controllers who may wish to satisfy the veracity of your claims. You also might face the reality that the Data Protection Commission has chosen your business for an audit. Are you ready for that? If you're not sure, have a look at the guide to the audit process the Data Protection Commission makes available.

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#Holistic #Holistichealth #Naturalmedicine #Closetonature #Holisticwellness

#Hypnosis #Hapiness #Anxiety #Stress #Hypnotherapyhelp



#Mymind #Mindthemind #Relaxyourmind #Loveyourmind #Amindfulmind

#Meditate #Masteryourmind #Spiritual #Mindfulenergy #Meditate


#Selfcare #Believeinyourself #Selfbeliefiskey #Lookafteryourself #Youcandoit

Use Your Hashtags!

At any stage of entrepreneurship, people being able to "see" you is SO important! Don`t forget to use #Hashtags on all your posts and images. #Hashtags categorize all your posts on the internet and let people find them so much more effectively.



#Beauty #Makeupartist #Makeuptutorial #Beautyfashion #Makeupfashion

#Hairfashion #Hairstyle #Hairdressing #Haircut #Hairbeauty

#Nails #Pharmaceutical #Medicare #Healthcare #Wellbeing #Medicare #Pharma

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#Nailsnailsnails #Nailbeauty #Nailtherapy #Nailfashion #Nailcare

#Beauty #Beautycare #Beautyrange #Beautifulyou #Makeup #Beautyregime


RITETAG - It`s my Go-To for all things Hashtags-find loads of statistics and trends across various social media platforms to help you get seen.

FONTSMARKET - Is THE place to get hold of beautiful, interesting and effective fonts for your computer work. FREE downloads. ttps://

LATER- Get on top of your Instagram account. With Later, you can create, arrange and schedule all your Instagram post easily.

TYPEFORM - Create ANY kind of form you might need for your website easily, and there is a FREE option too!


There are SO many excellent free programs, platforms, and apps on the net for business owners, which are just as efficient as the paid ones. You`d be mad not to at least try those out before the ones that charge, but always be careful when downloading anything from the internet.

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Simply Being Yourself... How Do You Do That? By Kajsa Kinsella By Kajsa Kinsella

"Do Unto Yourself, As You Would Do UnTo Others" Does this sound a little "wrong way around"? I know! You see, I have flipped the famous old saying around and in doing this, in an attempt to make you as kind and supportive to yourself, as you always are towards others. Being encouraging of ourselves is something we often struggle with, or, even forget to be completely. I think treating yourself with the same enthusiasm and vigor that you would use when supporting another, is the key to you finding your entrepreneurial path; your way to finding the honest, true, real feeling of being yourself within which you create your business if you follow my thought process. You wouldn`t dream of telling a friend that they are ridiculous when playing on their strengths or say that their real selves should be best left at home under lock and key. So, why are you so hellbent on pushing yourself aside for "the benefit of" your business-you ARE your business. The key to success IS to be different; to make a personal impact on people and to make them remember you. You know full well that you would be the very first one to get a friend all fired up about how wonderfully cool and valuable their individual quirkiness, knowledge, skills, and instincts are and you also know that you wouldn`t miss an opportunity to tell them that they are MAD not to use all this to their advantage! But, you wouldn`t use that kind of energy or enthusiasm when it comes to yourself though, would you? In business, it`s important to be genuine; to stand out from the rest, as every single marketplace is way too overcrowded. But, how do you do that? Who are You, Who are You for and Why in the world should someone choose to give to you of his or her precious time rather than just pass you by? It`s because of what you make them feel, that`s why! P 20


"So, How Do I "Be" Myself" Authenticity sells. Think about it, you wouldn`t do business with someone who is unpersonal and playing a game.Â

Don`t pretend to be someone you`re not. It won`t work. Change the business idea, rather than your personality.

Don`t offer too much. Making promises that are too large too soon, will force you to become something you`re not.Â

Take your time to figure out who you are before you open the doors to your business, so as not to feel insecure.

See the benefits of you being genuine and build a firm business on that foundation, rather than holding together a facade.

Feel the thrill of being you. In control, in charge and confident in who you are and what your business can do.Â

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The Very Best Of Irish

The Cream Of The Crop

Eco Tree Pestle & Mortar This gorgeous luxury set contains the most delightful hydrating Pure Hyaluronic Serum & Hydrate moisturiser. The Hydrating Duo Gift Set €: 86.00

Mmmm, gorgeous knitted in a a subtle traditional Irish trace cable stitch and moss stitch detail. Made from super soft and sustainable Alpaca wool. Eco AlpacaMittens €: 30.00

Names Dublin

De Bruir

Kildare native and master craftsman Garvan de Bruir combines traditional craft skills with contemporary styling to create a collection of leather bags and accessories. Beautiful! Laptop Carrier €: 320.00

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The founders o the Irish Design Shop, Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey are the designers behind this lovingly created jewellery line. Nellie Necklace: €: 125.00

The Very Best Of Irish

Mullan Lighting Created by Monaghan native designer Mike Treanor, these sophisticated ornamental lights will look fabulous anywhere. Vilnius Pendant in Black or White € 119.06

Martina Scott

All of Martina`s detailed limited edition nature designs are carefully hand screen printed on to the finest of Irish linen. They are a true delight. Ferns €: 62.00

Diem Pottery We LOVE this hand-thrown set by American born Thomas Diem! Made in a sleek Nordic style from durable stoneware, these serving bowls are the perfect gift. Triple Bowl Set €: 80.00


Green tea is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks because it contains one of the highest amount of antioxidants of any tea. Delicious, healthy and easy to use! Skinny Green Tea-Large €: 19.00

Lamb Design This large, sturdy "bottle-shaped" wicker basket is every parent`s dream! It will hold anything and everything, not only laundry. € 95.00 P 23

Business Feature


GROWING YOUR BUSINESS By Wendy Merrigan There are various ways to grow your business as I’m sure you’re aware. Many people spend money on marketing or advertising without reviewing where their sales come from.

In this article; Know where to start, learn a little about networking and always remember your time is valuable. For this article, we’re going to take a focused look at where exactly we should spend our time and our money when it comes to growing our business. Many businesses spend money without taking account of what that spend is returning for the business. Whether you’re a small business starting out or have been around for several years, the same principle applies. Especially as a start-up business, you want to ensure you only spend money and resources where you know you will get a good return on your investment. Sales is a numbers game and by increasing your efforts you will increase your likelihood of greater sales. Knowing where to start If you made sales in 2017 or 2018, review your sales list to identify where exactly these customers found out about you and your products or services. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to know where you should spend your resources for marketing your business. If you don’t know where your customers have come from, consider a survey or an email to ask questions. Short surveys tend to work well. Obviously be cognisant of GDPR law. Once you know where your customers are coming from, it is easier to know where you should spend your time and money. In many instances in Ireland, we find businesses grow by word of mouth. Referral networks are very strong in Ireland. We all know people buy from people therefor ensuring you are ‘talking’ to your customer audience in their way is key.

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Business Feature

Focusing on Networking / Referrals For many people who start a business, the idea of cold-calling will bring them out in a cold sweat! By using networks and meeting business owners in a more informal manner, you will grow your business without having to cold call. There are many do’s and don’ts of networking. My tips are below. If you don’t feel comfortable networking yet or talking about your business offering, the workbook ‘Book Yourself Solid’ by Michael Port is a great read. It is primarily for service companies however, it can work for businesses selling products also. This isn’t a ‘reading’ book, it’s a workbook. The business owner has to do this work themselves and can’t hand this off to anyone else. Once you get about 100 pages into the book, you’ll find you have a great list of notes and ideas of how to speak to others about your business and you can transfer this to various different types of discussions. This book is roughly €20. In terms of value, it’s fantastic. Highly recommended by me to all new businesses.

Networking – Do’s - Develop relationships (focus on long-term business relationships, don’t be impatient) - Show up ready; bring business cards, be professional in every encounter, whether by email or meeting in person - Remember first impressions last. How you make someone feel stays with them, long after you have left. - Two ears, one mouth. Actively listen while others are speaking. Pay attention and don’t appear distracted or uninterested (this will appear rude). - Be interested in other businesses, look for opportunities to help others, follow up as soon as possible after the meeting - Ensure your elevator pitch is the required length (stick to your 60 seconds if that’s what is required) - Always respect another person’s time. If someone is rushing, follow up by email or telephone call at a later stage - Offer before you ask. Look to help others out before you make requests of any group.

Time is Money As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, spending our time wisely is the key to ensuring you grow your business profitably. While networking for business opportunities is a great way to build your business, ensure you join the right network for your business. Do some research on the group first. If you can attend for at least one meeting (ideally two), make sure you do. Spending money to join any group is not the only issue here. When we take time out of our business, we need to ensure it’s spent in the most valuable way possible. There are many groups that are good support rather than business building. There are other groups of business owners that meet yet don’t network in the way I mentioned above. I’ve tried and tested many groups in the past and noticed business owners like myself feeling let down by the lack of real business relationships being formed. Take the time to ensure you have the right groups for your business needs. Remember always that your time is money. While you are developing your business, you are not looking after customers or employees. Finding the balance in this juggling routine is something that needs to be mastered well.

In Summary Start at the beginning, don’t skip steps when growing your business. Know where your sales are coming from. Network with purpose and always follow the guides from others who network well. Never forget your time is the most valuable resource you have. Spend it wisely.

Wendy is a chartered accountant and financial mentor. P 25

Welcome to my monthly column on all things book related including reviews and my favourite Irish authors. Paul Dunphy Esquire is a social media consultant and curator and book lover. Contact Paul via and see what he can do for you!

On The Couch with paul dunphy esquire I never thought I was a fan of historical fiction, in fact I was sure of it, (although admittedly I have the Downton Abbey boxset!) that was until I discovered Hazel Gaynor’s books! They are always a cracking good read that brings you back in time and completely envelop you into their stories. And Hazel’s latest ‘The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter’ is no exception to this rule, a wonderful story that swept me away in the best possible way. It’s 1838 and a horrific storm blows off the Northumberland coast, Grace Darling (adore the name) is a lighthouse-keepers daughter and her actions on the night of this storm set about an incredible story that echoes down through the years. Then there’s Matilda Emmerson who sails to America like many a young woman with an uncertain future ahead, she stays with her reclusive relative Harriet Flaherty, a Lighthouse keeper on Rhode Island. Matilda discovers a portrait which changes her life forever! It’s a story of dramatic bravery, family, love, and loss and I loved it. Have you read ‘The Girl from the Savoy’? another great read from Hazel, well this one is right up there in terms of amazing storytelling and you can’t wait to see how the lives of these women play out. Another superb knicker gripping book I read recently was by Adelle O’Neill ‘Brothers and Sisters’ – what would you do to protect the ones you love. This is the first book by Adelle and it’s a must-read, grippy from the start to finish. An emotive story of family, big secrets and the effects these secrets can have on generations on the same family. I would recommend for any thriller fans. There’s a second stand-alone book too ‘Behind Closed Doors’ which has some characters from the first book included. That one is on my TBR pile. Until next month. Happy reading folks/Paul P 26

International Interview

As an avid networker I meet incredible people all the time but it’s rare I’m blown away by the tenacity and determination I found in this month’s interviewee - Ann Marie McDonagh! She oozes elegance and grace but you quickly realize that it’s her steely determination and focus that has positioned her as a successful globally recognized Irish Business Woman with her brand Serenity & Grace. Ann Marie, could you describe the journey for you and Serenity & Grace? Many people think I have a design background. In reality, I wanted to study art and design but my school in Co Mayo didn’t offer an Art option after Intercert! So even after getting an A in Art my plans for my fashion empire were parked at an early point! It was through a chance opening in Wallis for an in-house fit model and design room assistant at 19 that I started on my graft through the ranks. My career in fashion brought me through various head office roles from planning and merchandising to buying then running global and wholesale for Monsoon, Gant and becoming Global Commercial Director for Fred Perry before deciding to set up myself. Through my career I was very much on the commercial side of these multi-million-pound businesses - understanding the customer profile, there needs, pricing, competition, global variances etc along with implementing branded websites, new logistics processes, warehouses and systems, new stores and new markets. It made sense that I bring this knowledge and experience into a business idea I had for premium affordable luxury particularly in woman’s occasion wear where there is very little choice in the market. During the UK recession, the market lost many of its occasion wear brands; woman opted for conservative dressing and refrained from dressing up. In Ireland however it was the reverse, I could see that women continued to take time to dress for occasions and to make the effort for an occasion of celebration. I could see a big gap in the market not only in the UK but globally. Customers wanted something special, no matter what their shape or size. They wanted to look and feel their best. Serenity & Grace was due to be an online-only personal service provider. It was to be a top to toe offer on mobile hair and make-up along with personal styling for the planned occasion. This concept was introduced some 3 years ago, but the tech market was not ready for the personalization model at the time, three years on they are screaming for it! As a startup with people not fully understanding the concept, I decided to simplify and offer what I was known for, frocks!! I was fortunate that over the years I had built a good network where I could work with companies to grow brand awareness; from becoming the fashion partner for British Airways flying start, to dressing presenters for the British film and tv awards, styling at The Irish Post awards, dressing tv presenters-wherever I could see a brand-building opportunity I would work on it. I very quickly learned what was right for the brand, I mistakenly agreed to dress young bloggers, even with a wide following they were not the right audience for our brand and did not translate into sales or even followers. I think with today’s social media you need to test options but learn from everything and move on. We were very fortunate to work with House Of Fraser. They heavily promote the Oxford St store as being the occasion wear destination of The West End, however, I found their offer was very limited and they carried high street brands rather than an exclusive offer. I met the manager and spoke about our offer for Stylish Grownups. Whatever your size or age you can still be stylish at an affordable price. They ‘got’ our concept straight away and within a month we were trading in the main entrance and overachieving against well known, established brands. It was the best feeling ever! The house of Fraser met with me after 2 weeks of trading to discuss the rollout of 6 more concessions plus online. I still sometimes can’t believe our luck.

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International Interview How do you stand out from your competitors? I think the most important thing is to know your customer and stay true to them. I am a big believer in working on the sales floor, it gives you all the insight you could possibly need. I think we the well-established brands are so huge it is very difficult to find something different. People need to be confident their outfit will not be seen on another guest to an event! As a team, all our staff is hired as stylists and not sales assistants. We are about finding the right look for our customers, the department stores personal stylists often ask us for advice and with this approach, we have referred and repeat business.

What or who has helped in the building of your brand? Since launching in House Of Fraser we have gained a good following from stylists to celebs and with the press. Shirley Ballas from Strictly regularly wears our dresses as does many tv presenters and soap stars for awards. A high-level celeb wearing one of our outfits well is worth more than an advertisement campaign. I am also a big believer in helping charities where you can, we all know people who need help through their life so do what I can through Serenity & Grace, it could be giving a makeover to someone well deserving or organising a charity fashion show, the feel-good feeling not only benefits the receiver but goes a long way for the brand, you can’t buy goodwill, you have to earn it!

In 2018 you set up a Crowd Funding campaign and many congratulations in raising over 112% of your funds. What advice do you have for our readers considering the same? Keep your campaign simple, you have a few minutes to sell your story. Don’t make it hard to grasp. I found that as soon as I talked about fashion and beauty I lost people. As a start-up, you need to have a clear focus on how you will get to your next stage and what your focus needs to be. Investors are not interested in people spreading themselves too thinly, they want to know the milestones and how you will get there.

As a fellow Irish International Business Network (IIBN) member. What value or importance do you put on networking for your business and your personal brand?

I was actually surprised how helpful one network group could be. Through the crowd funding, campaign material, speaking at events, PR contacts to attending the #wearingirish event in the Irish Embassy here in London to now working with the Irish Ambassadors wife Aisling O’Neil and dressing her for an event in the Palace. It was not just about business connections but found a great group of people supporting me with feedback on the campaign, attending Serenity & Grace events and contacting me with ideas to help the brand. Following on from IIBN I was nominated for their GIFT campaign which helps female entrepreneurs with global expansion.

Start-ups regularly depend on the support of government programs / grants. Was this something you leveraged in the UK when building your business? Are there any you’d recommend? As an Irish citizen, I would have liked to have worked with EI as I developed the business and carried stock from Irish suppliers. Unfortunately, as we are UK based this was not possible however I would definitely speak to them had I been based in Ireland. Government grants and support are invaluable, not just financially but also engaging in their pool of experts within their support network. In time I would like to be able to do more to set up more Irish fashion businesses, it is on my ever growing wish list!

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International Interview

International Interview What’s next for Serenity & Grace?

We have a long way to go but our main focus is on brand building and global expansion. With the uncertainty of Brexit and the UK high street it is imperative we are looking further afield. We have built a good international customer in Oxford St because markets like the Middle East, Asia, and the US are crying out for something new. For product development, there is so much further to go from introducing a wider offer, market-relevant pieces to fragrance and accessories. Parallel to this, we are also working on our tech offer, giving customers the personalization and styling they would find in stores. We have engaged some great experts in the field so very much looking forward to the launch. In basic terms, we would like Serenity & Grace to be the market leader for Occasion wear and in technology, no pressure!

You’re a business owner, wife and Mom, multitasking and juggling must play a huge part in what you do. What’s your secret? Thankfully I have two great boys! My sons are 15 and 13 so very much self-sufficient now during the week and at weekends it’s important to take time out with them, of course if their social calendar allows for it! If they are busy I will go to visit one of our concessions or follow up on emails, I try to make the most of any spare time I have. It was far harder making the work/life balance work when the boys were younger but I firmly believe it’s good for them to see you can succeed when you show commitment. People often say if you enjoy what you do you will never feel like you are working, some of my days are like that organising fashion shows, meeting suppliers, stylists etc but we all have the hard mundane work like accounts, staff management, logistics which are a business necessity whoever you are.

And finally, I ask all my interviewee’s this question what mantra if any, do you live by? I was quite surprised when one of my sons said to me recently, “mum, you followed your dreams and look where you are” it was a reminder to me that if you believe and work hard for something it can happen! In my case, it has been some 30 years in the making but never give up! I also think we often run into dead ends along our path but there is a defined path we are meant to follow, sometimes you have to be open-minded to see where you are going and if it’s a dead end turn around quick!!

Find Ann Marie McDonagh on

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A Smile

Is The Best Makeup

A Girl Can Ever Wear!

Get In Touch!

Here at Self Starter Hq, we`d love to hear from you! Page-SelfStarterMagazine Group-TeamSelfStarter

kajsakinsella @MagSelfStarter @selfstartermagazine

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Personal Story

Personal Story


Hi there, I’m Aisling, founder of Treetop Studio. When I was asked to write an article for Self Starter magazine, I wondered where to start, how to start…sometimes we just need to start! The sentiments of that sentence remind me of my journey into self-employment. When should I make that jump, when is the right time, from my experience, there never really is going to be a right time. For me, I was in a job that brought me no joy, yes I was working within the graphic design & branding sector but this was not my interpretation of a creative, fulfilling role. I felt I had nothing to lose, if it didn’t work out, I could just go back to working for someone else again.

But here’s the thing, it did work out and here I am six years later, still in business and growing Treetop Studio all the time. I’m happy that I took that leap of faith because I have met & worked with so many interesting people, created work that I am truly proud of and grown from being pushed out of my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong there has been up’s and downs. In particular, I found getting back into work after having my baby boy last year very challenging. Thoughts of holding down an extremely energetic baby while changing his nappy spring to mind, I remember thinking “how am I supposed to create a brand identity for a client when I feel this exhausted and it’s only five in the morning”. But I did and I showed up, even when all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. But there has been more up’s than there has been down’s. And that’s why I’m still doing what I love. This journey has made me grow, but my business has grown with me and I mean that more in the sense of clarity and focus in terms of where I fit in and who my clients are. This is a big part of what branding is about, knowing where you slot in, how to position yourself and knowing your customer. This is like the groundwork for your brand. I thought everyone was my customer initially, but because I tried to appeal to everyone, I didn’t connect with whom I wanted to really work with. I was afraid, if I didn’t do everything, then I would lose customers. But the opposite happened because I was more clear in my messaging and visuals, I attracted customers that I really wanted to work with. P3382


Personal Story

I have found that clients think they want to say everything when really a strong brand should have one main message behind it. We tend to over complicate things, trying to fit everything in, being everything to everybody, when really, simple is best and most effective. The way I work with my clients I just let them talk, I listen and ask questions that prompt them to really get into what they stand for. I call this my discovery session because so much is uncovered here and a lot of the time clients are realizing things about their business for the first time. I really love this part of the process because I learn so much about them and I will notice different themes popping up, that I can draw on later when researching and sketching concepts. A recent client testimonial from Mona of Newtons Ladder really brought home the power of what I do for my clients. “Before working with Aisling, we lacked an identity for our business. We didn’t have anything that pulled our work ethos and values together. We now have a new found confidence with a brand that matches our experience and professionalism. Working with Aisling has helped us understand who we are, what we are about and most importantly our ethos and how our clients see us. The brand identity represents us, with our story and meaning behind it. Aisling provided the whole package, it’s more than just a logo, it’s our everything. The process was so in-depth, informative and enjoyable. Aisling’s work has clarity, depth and absolute consideration for whom she is creating for. She took the time to get to know us, she got us and nailed the brief, in fact, she surpassed our expectations”.

Aisling is an award winning brand and graphic designer, find her on P 33


Lemon & Honey Drops P 34


"A quick & natural throat lozenges to soothe any winter cold"

Homemade Lemon & Honey Drops You Will Need: 60ml of Water 85ml of Honey 120g Brown Sugar 3 tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

For kids, use a lollipop mold and some paper sticks to make it easier to eat. Add all ingredients to a thick bottomed cooking pot, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and let gently boil for ca. 7 minutes, or until you can do “the water-test” i.e. drip a little mixture into a bowl of ice cold water, and if you can roll a firm ball, the mixture is done. Carefully take the pan from the stove and pour the very hot mixture in silicone forms, add lollipop sticks for the little kids and leave to cool in a safe place until the cough drops are fully cooled, firm and can be eaten. If you dust the lozenges with just a little icing sugar and store them in a paper bag in a dry, cool place they will last for a few days but if my children are anything to go by, they won`t even last the day. I do hope you will feel much better very soon!

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Personal Story


My name is Steph Grey and since 2005 I’ve been teaching Pilates and movement to people from all walks of life. I opened a Pilates studio in Dublin city center in 2012, right in the middle of the recession, which was rather scary at the time. Back in 1999, I took my first Pilates class and from that day I was hooked. I had worked in IT for many years and I never thought that Pilates could become my career, but over time I had become more and more dissatisfied with my IT sales job and the corporate life and knew something needed to change. With Pilates I'd found a method of movement that engaged my brain and my body and left me feeling strong and connected. So in 2005, I embarked on my Pilates teacher training, along with a basic anatomy course and a communications course to hone my teaching skills. That year was a busy one as I was still working full-time in IT. During my Pilates training, I was teaching anyone who was willing to offer their body as a guinea pig. I quickly realized teaching was something I really enjoyed doing – and I could see the skillsets I had from my business background was also applicable to this new area of my life. After all, working in sales is all about communication and interacting with people. Promoting health and wellness through Pilates and movement felt so much more fulfilling though.

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Personal Story

"I Trusted In My Gut" I found a local space to teach from, and over time ended up teaching 20+ classes per week on top of the IT job. But you know when you do something you really love? It was never a chore and always a pleasure. During that period I also joined a physiotherapy clinic in Wicklow – an amazing opportunity to work in the area I was really interested in – injury rehab. I learned so much. My IT job at this stage had moved to Citywest. I was also teaching in four different locations in the city center as well as Wicklow. Something had to give, travel time alone was like a parttime job. It was time to put down some roots and look for a studio space. It took two years to find the right location. We knew we wanted to build a fully equipped studio for our clients, and also to build a teacher training business alongside it. We opened our current location in Camden Row in just over six years ago. The studio has a great natural light with huge windows which we open wide in summer, so we have fresh air flowing through the studio. Working in an environment that feels close to nature in the middle of the city is truly wonderful. Six months after opening I was still working part-time in the IT job, but after a particularly difficult project management meeting one Friday with a client, I realized I could no longer do both, so that night, after mulling it all over with my husband, I rang my boss to give my notice. He was initially surprised but realized as a small business owner himself, you need time to focus on growing a new business. While I miss my IT colleagues, I haven't regretted that decision once. I did get to meet up with them at their anniversary party recently. They’re no longer a small business and now employ 150+ people. Over time you come to realize that running your own business is a continual learning curve. I set up a studio just wanting to teach Pilates, but very quickly realized I needed to know so much more, you need many other skills that you don't take into account when starting out. I'm blessed to have a very tech savvy husband, and also a really wonderful group of enthusiastic, well-educated colleagues who have helped to make our studio one of the best in the country. We ran our first teaching training course in 2013, a continuing education course for previously qualified Pilates teachers. We have run many of these workshops and have trained students from all over the world since – South Korea, Australia, USA, Iceland, Brazil, all over Europe, the UK, and Ireland. We also train instructors from many local studios – competitors included. We continue to build a community where collaboration, not competition is the goal. Our teaching training programs are going from strength to strength. We mentor students on an ongoing basis, as well as having teachers visit us from all over the world. Ireland is well and truly on the Pilates map. As a small business, we’re hugely fortunate to be in the position where we can make a positive impact on a person’s life, and while ours will never be a multimillion euro enterprise, our real reward is in being able to help others. In reality, it is our clients that are the key to our success, without them, there would be no studio. Our goal has always been to work with a community focus - both for our clients and our students. Our testimonials from both speak for themselves and this is where the real satisfaction lies for us. P 37

The Trees

Teach You

How To Let Things Go


Discover Irish Businesses And Learn From Irish ExpertsCheck Out Our New Competitions!

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Website Coaching

How to create a lead generating website system By Claire Gallagher

Using freebies to grow your mailing list? Here’s how to get more engagement and more leads! Freebies, opt-in incentives, content upgrades, whatever you want to call them, we create them so that people are more likely to join our mailing lists. Bottom line, you offer something of value for free in exchange for their contact details. But are you getting engagement from the freebies that you create? Do your subscribers become clients? Besides getting more subscribers on your list, freebies give people a taste of your expertise. The content and theme of your freebie can help position you as the problem solver of your customers’ pain point. Freebies also give subscribers a taste of your brand and your unique way of working. Building your mailing list is a great way to transform site visitors into potential leads but only if there is good engagement.

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If you need help with email marketing or getting more leads from your site, check out for more resources and free training.

Website Coaching

Here are a few points to consider: The actual content of your freebie

The freebie should be something of value for free, but it doesn’t have to be an entire course or a massive ebook. A freebie, by definition, should be a “quick win”– something that your subscriber can read or do right away. When it’s quick they are more likely to engage with it immediately, rather than putting it on the to-do list. We want them to engage with your content so that they look out for your future emails. They’ll do this if they know you’re offering good stuff.

Following up

If they have joined your list, they’re interested in what you have to offer. They want to hear from you. So don’t leave it too long to get back in touch. People are more inclined to open your emails when they come soon after their sign up. You can add an automated follow up in your email marketing service (available in MailChimp for free). This means they hear from you a day later, 2 days, a week later while you’re still fresh in their minds. They haven’t forgotten about you. Sometimes when you have a mailing list and you email people once a month, new subscribers may have to wait up to 30 days to hear from you if they subscribed just after your last mailout. That’s far too long and they may have forgotten about you at that time. The key to email marketing is engagement. That’s the whole point of creating those freebies in the first place. Get people to join your list. Get them to see your future emails. Help them to recognize your brand by tailoring the process. If you follow all these steps you’re on your way to getting a lead generation process set up on autopilot!

1. Make the sign up process easy Is it easy to find your freebie? Are you sharing it on social media? If so, how often? Where else can they hear about it? Is it positioned prominently on your site? Because if they can’t see it they can’t sign up for it. Are you offering multiple freebies? It can get really confusing, not just for your site visitor, but for you as a site owner if there are different sign-up offerings all over your site. It can also be hard for you to manage the delivery and follow up with multiple offerings.

2. Create a personalized experience

If you’ve created a freebie and you’re delivering it through MailChimp (or another email marketing platform) you have the opportunity to tailor that sign-up process. Sometimes when we’ve created a freebie, we’re keen to get it out there so the sign-up process can be a bit rushed. If you just skim through that process, you may be missing the opportunity to offer a more branded experience so that your customers get to know you and remember you.

3. Test it If you have a freebie already on offer, pop over and test it. Just sign up for your own freebie and notice the pages and emails that you see along the way. * Check that all the links lead to the right places. * Make sure that there is some brand personality in there * Make sure there is some kind of information or reminder in there to drag your confirmation email into the primary inbox. Sometimes the confirmation emails get filtered out as spam or promotions. While you have their full attention in the sign-up process, make sure they know they’ll miss out on future, emails if they don’t take action on this now. P 41

Marketing Magic

We Have Teamed Up!

The highly influential, experienced and superbly talented Marketing Strategist and Brand Builder Finola Howard of How Great Marketing Works and I have joined forces. This is THE place to go to become the master of your own marketing, a skill which will impact everything that has to do with your business. You will be trained and coached in getting to know yourself and your business inside out, back to front and front to back again; to think like a marketing strategist every step of your entrepreneurial path. The programme, which will challenge you to get to the top of your game by teaching you how to best utilize the power and passion you have as a self-starter and entrepreneur, is made up of 12 modules of bite-sized steps and easy to understand videos, practical worksheets and lots of help to keep you organized and on the right track.

Don`t wait until you get too busy and forget about this again - sign up to Finola`s 14-day free trial TODAY and see how you can take charge of the future of both you and your business. P 42

Marketing Magic

Module 5 Each section is constructed in a very clear and simple to follow way with a video which includes easy to understand imagery. Finola is there to talk you through each step and the full text is inserted beneath, so you can refer back at any time. Sign up, make sure to print out your worksheets and we`re good to go!

* The fifth module concentrates on the customers we as of yet haven`t won, who our competitors are and we`ll investigate the various market trends which may impact how you do business in the best and most effective way. Truly learn how to conduct a market research which will teach you everything you need to know to go forward with your business. What factors make an impact on today`s world of business; which trends are working for entrepreneurship and which are working against? Who are the factors of people who influence how you do business? * Through researching all these different topics that have a huge impact on whether your business will succeed or not, you equip yourself with the very best of tools and the strongest of armor when you embark on your entrepreneurial journey. Finola is a treasure trove of information and you are in very safe hands.Â

Find Out More On

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Literary/Books Sharon Thompson’s debut crime novel, ‘The Abandoned’ was published by Bloodhound Books UK on 25th June 2018. It launched at #1 Best-seller in Kindle Irish Crime Fiction. She is represented by the Trace Literary Agency. Sharon lives in Donegal, Ireland and co-founded trending, tweet-chat #WritersWise and also started an exclusive, online writing group called Her regular column Woman’s Words, is on the successful Donegal Woman website each Sunday. Sharon’s #indulgeinbooks short-lists new book releases on the stylish woman’s online magazine She is also a regular guest writer on Ireland’s leading writing website Find Sharon on or @sharontwriter


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"By Royal Appointment" by A.O Connor

"A Brilliant Void" by various contributors

Following the Great Famine of the 1840’s, Queen Victoria has become deeply unpopular in Ireland. In 1861, as the monarch is planning to win over her Irish subjects, her son Bertie is dispatched to County Kildare for military training as part of the charm offensive. Bertie has undergone a life of duty, protocol and a harsh educational regime. As a frantic search is under way to find a suitable princess to marry, he relishes the prospect of freedom from court life in Ireland.

An astronomer challenges an emperor. A hunter pursues the last dinosaur through a remote rain forest. A young Kerryman emigrates to the Moon to seek his fortune. Fifteen darkly funny stories illuminate a side of Irish literary history that is often overlooked. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the winds of change came rushing in Ireland’s direction. Science and technology would transform everything: life, love, death, crime, war, and even history itself. Edited and introduced by Jack Fennell, this is a collection of lesser-known works of classic Irish science fiction.

"Midwife Under The Mistletoe" by Karin Baine A kiss under the mistletoe… A family for Christmas? GP Fraser McColl longs to be part of a loving family, but past experience has taught him he’s better off alone. Only when he's thrown together with gorgeous yet guarded midwife Iona Munro, to care for two children at Christmas, he’s tempted to believe in miracles… After one passionate night together, can he persuade Iona that they deserve a lifetime of happiness—together?

Published by Poolbeg Press

Published by Tramp Press

Published by Mills & Boon

Social Media Coaching

Getting to Grips with the "Gram" CONQUERING INSTAGRAM Instagram sometimes gets a negative rap for being a ‘highlights reel’ of perfectly curated content and not ‘real’ but – I tend to be of the belief that, it can be both, and you don’t owe it to anyone to share content that’s too ‘real’ or personal if you don’t want to – you’re in control .

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Social Media Coaching

Let’s delve into Instagram, a favourite with many of us Self Starters, the mobile app is a perfeclt place for sharing your story, a very visual medium with an emphasis on creating an online community and curating image and video-based content.

What is Instagram? Instagram is a photo and video sharing app, developed to be used on mobile devices with the ability to set up a personal and/or a business profile – it shares similarities with other social networks (generating followers, using hashtags, 24 hour stories, direct messaging) but - is unique in it’s ability to empower the user to create visual content and the option use filters and editing tools – to make and post images and short videos, to best showcase your brand in a creative and user friendly way! Instagram is separate to, but owned by - Facebook; and as such shares the advertising tools and allows for simple cross-promotion between the two apps. Using Instagram: What are the benefits for my Biz? Instagram has the most active and engaged user-base of all social media platforms currently – meaning, people are spending more time on Insta over other apps, and – are liking, watching and commenting on the content. Small businesses currently make up the majority of Instagram advertisers and business profiles, it’s time to join in. Having a profile for your business brings you closer to your customer base, gives you the opportunity to get feedback and ideas, learn what people like, generates interest around your brand and – can drive sales/leads!

Instagram Talk Translated: Feed or Grid-The main page beneath your profile, where you can upload your content and see it in squares. News or Home Feed-The page where you can scroll to see everyone’s content chronologically and based on your level of engagement with those pages Stories-The bubbles at the top of your home-feed, where you can upload or watch 24-hour streams of videos or images. Highlights-Bubbles underneath the profile and above the grid/feed on a page where people can ‘save’ their 24 hours stories, permanently Captions-Your caption is the wording that you insert to describe your content in the ‘feed’ Mentions-When someone is ‘tagged’ using the @ symbol followed by their username, in the feed or on a story. P 46

Social Media Coaching #1 FILTERS When you upload an image or video to the feed (or to your stories) there are several ‘filters’ available (different ones for both the story and the feed) as well as editing tools you’ll be introduced to along the bottom of the screen – so that you can give your media a little makeover to make it look more polished and professional. You don’t always need to use filters, and subtle is best as far as they go, but it’s a wonderful option and what Instagram’s original unique selling point back in the day. Tip: don’t go too crazy with the filters, enhance without changing your media too much as people tend to relate more to natural looking content. #2 HASHTAGS (This guy - #) I feel as though I am always harping on about hashtags, but they are especially important for Instagram (and Twitter) as they are mini magnets that categorize your content, and attract interested users to you as they ‘search’ for certain words or topics. They can be inserted in the caption, or in the first comment below your caption and image (in the feed) or – in ‘stories’ they are best used to link people with similar interests and MUST be relevant to what you are posting. If you use #supportlocal under an image of Ikea, you are doing it wrong, if you use #discoverdonegal under a picture of your trip to Fanad Lighthouse, you are doing it right. #3 STORIES Stories, these are GREAT, get on them – they are one of the most engaging pieces of social media content right now; to upload a story you click on your profile picture to create a video or image that will stay live for 24 hours, people ‘view’ this and can reply to you. To watch other ‘stories’ click on the profile picture bubbles on top of the newsfeed. “While regular Instagram posts are passively viewed as they appear on users’ news feed, Instagram Stories are actively searched out and consumed.” SocialBakers (2018) Stories are an amazing, organic (i.e. free) way to engage your audience and show what you’re up to or selling. #4 FEEDBACK You can generate feedback on Instagram by posing a question in your feed (e.g. posting an image of two different colours of a forthcoming product to ask for input) or – even simpler - on Stories you can use the ‘Ask me’ tool to ask your audience for direct feedback, or use the ‘Poll’ feature where people can vote on two options. It’s a direct, quick and fantastic way to get customer feedback, new age market research! #5 INSIGHTS Instagram (for business) allows you to see your follower demographics (age, gender, location) and allows you to see how many people your feed posts have ‘reached’ as well as popular times of day with your users (which can influence when you post once you know the popular times) as well as how many ‘profile visits’ you’ve had, which means people viewing your Instagram profile. These analytics can be found in ‘settings’ and, on stories – or on each piece of content in the feed and are crucial for developing an understanding of how people are reacting to your content. You can only get access to this if you create, or switch to a business profile. Marie is a digital and PR nerd who solves awareness and social media marketing challenges for brands she believes in, in a collaborative, goal orientated and positive way. @mossmarketing P 47

Thank You! I hope you have enjoyed the magazine, that it has inspired you and given you a bit of a boost to start on your own path of entrepreneurship. My most sincere gratitude to this month`s contributors; Lynsey Hanratty, Wendy Merrigan, Sharon Thompson, Claire Gallagher, Éadaoin Curtin, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Marie Shields, Paul Dunphy Esquire, Aisling Griffin, Steph Grey, Philipa Jane Farley and to the wonderful Debbie Millington & Ann Marie McDonagh, who so generously allowed us to tell their stories.

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